For Teachers

… and their allies, focusing on life science. This is an organized list of selected posts on this blog that should be of interest to life science teachers. Check back now and then; I’ll be adding CONTENT related posts next. For now, the posts generally deal with Evolution and Creationism.

Please pass this on to other Life Science teachers. If you are a parent with a kid in Middle School or High School, send this page to your school’s science faculty. Also, leave comments in the comments sections of the posts (when they are open…due to spam they close now and then) and feel free to tell me what you would like to see more written on.

Science Content

Natural Selection is the key creative force in evolution. Natural selection, together with specific histories of populations (species) and adaptations, is responsible for the design of organisms. Most people have some idea of what Natural Selection is. However, it is easy to make conceptual errors when thinking about this important force of nature. One way to improve how we think about a concept like this is to carefully exam its formal definition…

…In Stabilizing Selection the extremes of a trait are selected against and the mean value of the trait remains the same. Mutations constantly introduced into the population tht produce traits out at the extremes are selected against. In Directional Selection the values of a trait at one end of the distribution are selected against and/or values at the other end are selected for, so that the distribution of values, and it’s mean, move in one direction. In Disruptive Selection the average values are…

Cope’s Rule … which is a rule of thumb and not an absolute … says that over time the species in a given lineage tend to be larger and larger. Bergmann’s Rule says that mammals get larger in colder environments. Allen’s Rule has mammals getting rounder in colder climates, by decreasing length of appendages such as limbs, tails and ears….All three rules seem to be exemplified in human evolution….

I’m not going to mention any names. All I’ll say is this: A person I know visited a major research center last year and saw a demonstration of organ removal and some other experimental stuff. A person also visiting asked the famous high-level researcher doing this work if blood was ever blue. What he said was not recorded in detail, but it was very much like this statement I found on the Internet…

Penguins. The birds that wear tuxedos and star in major motion pictures. People call them “flightless birds” but they do in fact fly; They just do it underwater. They are almost totally restricted to the southern hemisphere (but some live very close to the equator). They eat only seafood, including fish, squid, krill and other organisms….

For Parents of Students in Public School

… These are things that teachers would like parents to know about, but the teachers are too nice to tell you …

Your Letter to you Child’s Life Science Teacher

You have to tell your child’s life science teacher (or, any science teacher for that matter) that your family does not support creationism, does not want to see anyone “teaching the controversy” and that you know that “Intelligent Design” is a form of creationism. I promise you, the creationist parents of your child’s peers, and some of the creationist kids in the classroom, are not keeping their mouths shut. Why should you?

So, pursuant to this, I have composed a template for you to use as an email or letter to send to your child or ward’s life science teacher:

Click here to read the post

The problem with our system of science education is …

Teachers teach facts instead of concepts. Teachers teach from the textbooks and barely understand what is in the book anyway. There is not enough hands-on learning. All teachers really do anyway is to show videos most of the time. What should really happen is that a teacher should learn how to do science, intensively, with one project and that way, really understand how to teach it.

If you find yourself agreeing with everything I just said, then I have one more thing to add: Get a brain, moran!

Ya, go read this post

How to support your local life science teacher

Here is a way you can support the Life Science teachers in your local school. Give them a poster or a hat or a T-shirt or a book or something. I’ll tell you why in a moment. First, you have to find the teachers and ….

Click here to read the post

Evolution and Creationism in the Classsroom

Teachers Under Fire

It is very common, across the U.S., for science teachers to dread the “evolution” unit that they teach during life science class. As they approach the day, and start to prepare the students for what is coming, they begin to hear the sarcastic remarks from the creationist students. When the day to engage the evolution unit arrives, students may show up in the classroom with handouts from anti-science sites like Answers in Genesis, to give to their friends. They may carry a bible to the lab station and read it instead of doing the work. If there is a parent conference night around that time, the teacher may be verbally abused by some of the parents for not including “alternative theories” in the classroom.

There IS a conspiracy … Read about it here

How to respond in the classroom to questions about religion

A Mission Viejo high school history teacher violated the First Amendment by disparaging Christians during a classroom lecture, a federal judge ruled….James Corbett, a 20-year teacher at Capistrano Valley High School, referred to Creationism as “religious, superstitious nonsense” during a 2007 classroom lecture, denigrating his former Advanced Placement European history student, Chad Farnan….The decision is the culmination of a 16-month legal battle between Corbett and Farnan – a conflict the judge said should remind teachers of their legal “boundaries” as public school employees.

You should read this

What to do with Bible thumping students

…. Have you ever had this happen: You are minding your own business, teaching your life science course, it’s early in the term. A student, on the way out after class (never at the beginning of class, rarely during class) mentions something about “carbon dating.” This usually happens around the time of year you are doing an overview of the main points of the course, but before you’ve gotten to the “evolution module”…

Read the post here

In support of a diligent, relentless critique of creationism

…Young earth creationists, or ‘YEC’s’ believe the earth and all forms of life that exist today were created over a six day period 4004 B.C.

In this piece, the YEC’s are showing exhibits to the young students, asking them questions, teaching them, and so on. Rooney also interviews the two YEC’s in the absence of the children, as well as Kirk Johnson, a scientist who works for the museum.

Although the reporter tries to be fair to “both sides” in this story, in the end, the YEC’s end up looking very foolish, and some who have seen this have gone so far as to suggest that this sort of thing is a form of child abuse. Unless one is already a YEC, one cannot watch this footage without thinking that the YEC’s are doing something very wrong here. In other words… Read the rest here

Teacher Gone Wild

…. A bit off topic but go check it out anyway

The Wrong Way to Approach the Evolution-Creationism Debate

Amy Binder and John H. Evans, associate professors of Sociology at the University of California at San Diego, have written a piece on efforts to force religion in the guise of Intelligent Design and Creationism down the throats of children in Texas. … I’m afraid the authors of this commentary are making an error. Two errors, actually…

Read the post here

Videos

Don’t ask for it because then I’d have to let you have it

This is the famous video about … well, just watch it. Not work safe if you are in a teachers’ lounge because everyone will cry. CLICK HERE

Evolution in the Classroom from the National Center for Science Education … Videos

Click here to see the videos

Listen to the Scientists (on Creationism)

Click here to see Francisco Ayala and this other guy talking about a banana

Books

Evolution vs. Creationism by Eugenie Scott, Second Edition

This is the newly revamped edition of Genie Scott’s essential reference supporting the Evolutionist Perspective in the so called “debate” over creationism vs. evolution. The original version of this book was excellent, but this updated version is essential. There is quite a bit of new information in this volume reflecting the fact that quite a few things have happened since the publication of the prior edition.

Click here to read the full review

Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design

This is a must read for those interested in the Evolution – Creationism controversy. In particular, this volume is an essential part of the personal library of every science educator, for reasons that I will describe below. If you know a Life Science Teacher, this is a perfect birthday present. If you have a child in the public K–12 education system in the US, or the analog somewhere else, donate a copy of this book to the appropriate life science teacher!

Check out the review here

The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism

Ardea Skybreak’s new book, “The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing what’s real and why it matters” is a comprehensive treatment of creationism, in all of its forms, in relation to the practice and teaching of evolution and science in general. This book provides a point by point description of creationist arguments and refutation of those arguments, and a very usable summary of the related evolutionary concepts….

Click here to see full review, link to book

Other items

How to not get caught plagiarizing

In short: Don’t do it. But in truth, that is not good enough…

You need to know the following three things. These facts will save you from getting tossed out of college or having a mark on your high school record.

Click here to read the post

Remember that embroidered pillow you got on how “A teacher affects eternity?”

…. That might have been a passive aggressive insult! Read The Irony of Henry Adams: The most misunderstood quote evah!

Comments

  1. #1 Chrystal
    40 degrees North
    March 16, 2013

    As a pre-service teacher, thank you!